The Sheep of Kephas

Home » Rules & Tools » Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #19 – God or Mammon?

Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #19 – God or Mammon?

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This is the second in a series of posts analyzing the implications of our Pastor’s probable membership in the Association of US Catholic Priests (AUSCP). (See Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #18 – Our Radical Pastor and the AUSCP for background.)

Members: What can we say about priests who are members of AUSCP? The best place to begin is with what they say about themselves: (See Priests’ association celebrates values of Vatican II. Check out picture No. 8)

“We’re mostly older priests who were educated and formed by Vatican II,” said Father Bernard “Bob” Bonnot, the association’s president. He was ordained for the Diocese of Youngstown, in 1967.

When the group was founded, he said, members felt that some of the council’s [Vatican II] openness to the world was being closed off.

“We wanted to stand for it and we wanted to fight for it,” Bonnot said. “We want to move our pilgrim church forward as the Spirit inspires.”

Membership – Priests: What is required to become a member of AUSCP? According to the AUSCP website only two criteria are listed: (Click here.)

  • Completion of a registration form, and
  • Paying a membership fee ($50 for “Basic” membership and $150 for “Supporting” membership)

Membership – AUSCP “FRIEND”: What is required to become an AUSCP “FRIEND”? According to the AUSCP website four criteria are listed. The first two are essentially the same as for priests: (Click here.)

  • Completion of a registration form, and
  • Voluntarily paying of a suggested donation of $50 or some other amount

Now this is where things become a bit confusing. On a different page, FRIENDS of AUSCP are described as: (Click here.)

Persons or organizations who –

• Support the mission and work of AUSCP with prayer, time, talent, wisdom, encouragement and treasure

• Do not publicize or publicly promote positions contrary to church teaching or AUSCP positions

There are two points to be made here:

  1. Logic would suggest that, in addition to FRIENDS,  AUSCP priest members would also be required to refrain from publicizing or publicly promoting “positions contrary to church teaching or AUSCP positions”.
  2. Without providing a clear definition of church teaching, both priest members and FRIENDS might encounter obvious conflicts between church teaching or AUSCP positions. Consequently, any of the current AUSCP positions being developed in current AUSCP Working Groups could be seen as pushing the line on church teaching.

Rather than enter into an argument over words, let’s consider what a founding member of AUSCP, Fr. Frank Eckart from Toledo had to say on this point: (Click here.)

“We push those issues that are not set in stone, but that are not contrary to dogma or faith, although we believe in dialogue with dissenting groups.”

And there it is, dear Readers, our radical Pastor probably is an active member of a group that is promoting positions that are right on the edge. That same group believes in dialogue with dissenting groups. Our question is, when he encounters a conflict between a church teaching and an AUSCP position, which will he choose to promote to his parishioners or to those attending a Cursillo weekend?

We must remember Matthew 6:24 – “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

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